This is a response to the class question, "Few people, if any, would agree to purchase a smart phone without first knowing the price; however, in the U.S. very few health care providers provide up-front pricing for their services. How could this problem be fixed and how would price transparency improve our health care system and how would consumers of health care services benefit.", which was posed by @trostparadox.
The U.S. health services currently do not commonly display prices, nor do they negotiate prices with insurance agencies out in public view. There are some websites that show prices for some health care facilities, but these websites are not commonly known or used. Fixing the U.S. health care system would be very tedious. Health care providers would need to provide pricing as a visible option, instead of a guessing game. In order to improve in price visibility, health services would first need to work out prices for their services for different people based on their insurance status. After that is accomplished, health care providers would need to distribute the current price rates well. One way this could be accomplished is by listing the current prices online and on a digital displays in their facilities. To improve customer experience, price changes should be limited to a certain amount of separation in time. Otherwise, patients may schedule an appointment a few months ahead of time and receive a different price than expected. Having price transparency at a health care facility would greatly improve the decision making of the patient. Without transparent pricing, customers may be hesitant to seek medical attention, which could result in permanent damage that could have been prevented. This also allows for customers to make personal choices about their health, which can spark more competition between health care providers in order to attract that customer. As a result of increased competition, health care techniques and tools would be improved at a comparable price. With new and improved health care services, patients will be more inclined to seek help and receive better service. With price transparency patients educated choices for seeking health based on the price, quality of care, and health care capabilities.